Essay - Privatization of the Prison System and the Impact of the...


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PRIVATIZATION OF THE PRISON SYSTEM AND THE IMPACT ***** THE DIFFERENTIATION OF SENTENCING IN POWDER VERSUS CRACK COCAINE OFFENSE ***** THE ***** ON AFRICAN AMERICAN OFFENDERS

I. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE POLICY

In 1986 and 1988, the U.S. Congress passed federal sentencing laws related to crack cocaine that differentiated the sentences imposed upon defendants in powder and crack cocaine related offenses in what is known as the 'Anti-Drug Abuse Act of **********. These stricter sentenc*****g guidelines were passed to address the emerging issue of ***** cocaine which was perceived to be."..a social menace that was categorically different from ***** cocaine in its physiological and psychotropic effects." Crack ***** is powder cocaine mixed with banking soda ***** then cooked into hard rocks, which are then broken up into smaller pieces and sold to those who use the drug by smoking it. Crack cocaine is cheaper than powder cocaine and aroused great public concern when it first h***** ***** streets in t*****e Uni*****d States. According to Alfred Blumstein ***** Carnegie Mellon University, as reported ***** Coyle (2002) in the work entitled: "Race and Class Penalties ***** Crack Cocaine Sentencing" crack cocaine began as an innovation in the drug market "crack distribution rights *****d boundaries were apportioned amongst competitors with the use of violence." (Coyle, 2002) The follow*****g table relates the median street-level dealer drug quantities and mandatory minimum ***** by ***** Anti-Drug Act ***** 1986.

***** Street-Level Drug Quantities and M*****atory Minimums

Drug

***** Drug Weight

Mandatory Minimum

Crack *****

52 grams

10 years

Powder Cocaine

340 *****

Source: Coyle (2002

***** created the United ***** Sentencing Commission in 1984 for ***** purpose of developing federal sentencing guidelines for the purpose ***** bringing about a reduction of sentencing disparity. By 1994 in alliance with provisions set out in ***** Omnibus Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the ***** was *****structed to conduct a study relating to different penalties in powder- ***** crack-coca*****e *****. The study lasted ***** duration of one year with recommendations ***** the Commission to the U.S. Congress to revise the crack/powder 100:1 sentencing disparity due ***** findings ***** due to the small differences in the two forms of coca*****e that such sentencing disparities were not justifiable. Commission advised an equalization (1:1) of the quantity ratio ***** would require manda*****ry ***** relating to the ***** forms of cocaine. Commission recommendations included advisement that guidelines in ***** sentencing should be based upon criteria other than the type ***** ***** for determination of ***** lengths ***** sentences. These recommendations ***** rejected by the U.S. Congress along with refusal ***** make changes to the law and ***** in fact the first such move in the history of the United States Sentencing Commission since its' *****mation. Once again, recommendations were made in April 1997 regarding the ***** in sentencing *****tween crack- and powder-cocaine ***** the *****ial ***** should be balanced through provision of a range of 2:1 to 15:1 for ***** to choose ***** among. This new recommendation "was based on both raising

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